West News Wire: The United Arab Emirates and Qatar have reportedly invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Jared Kushner’s private equity firm, according to a report by The New York Times. Saudi Arabia had previously invested $2 billion in the venture, which was started soon after former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law left the White House.
According to the report released on Thursday, Affinity Partners received investments totaling more than $200 million from a sovereign wealth fund in the UAE and a comparable sum from an unidentified Qatari entity. MEE requested a statement from the Qatari and Emirati embassies in Washington but did not receive one.
The reported investments appear to show the continued efforts of Kushner and other senior members of the former Trump administration in profiting from the close ties they built to the Middle East during his presidency.
Kushner developed a close relationship with several senior figures throughout the Middle East, including Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known by his initials MBS, with whom he has been engaging with for years through emails, text messages, and other forms of contact, according to a previous report by The New York Times.
During his time in the Trump administration, the Saudi royal family gifted him two swords and a dagger worth nearly $48,000, for which he ended up paying the US government after leaving office.
In 2021, he founded the Abraham Accords Institute for Peace, which will focus on boosting trade and tourism between the four Arab states and Israel.
Six months after leaving the Trump administration, Kushner secured a $2bn investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The investment came despite objections from the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s advisors, who noted the “inexperience” of the fund’s management.
But despite these relationships built by Kushner, Emirati and Qatari officials were at first reluctant to invest in his private equity fund, in part because of the political risks associated with the investments, people familiar with both governments’ internal deliberations told The New York Times.
Former US officials have for years used their status in the government to sign lucrative contracts with Gulf nations. Some US lawmakers have criticised this, but there are few laws to put an end to it.
In two investigations published in October 2022, the Washington Post discovered that hundreds of retired American military commanders had signed lucrative contracts with foreign governments, mostly Gulf monarchies like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, by using their military experience. At least 280 retired military personnel applied for permission to serve as consultants or military contractors for the UAE.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform began looking into Kushner’s Middle Eastern business transactions in June of the same year.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney asked for information in a letter about the $2 billion Saudi Arabian stake in Affinity Partners.